Things to do in Chiang Mai
Surrounded by mountains and lush countryside, Chiang Mai is a laid-back city in Northern Thailand with plenty of activities to keep you entertained!
Chiang Mai offers the best of both, city and outdoor life. You can shop till you drop at one of the big malls, visit one of the many Buddhist temples or grab an a cup of tea at one of the many excellent coffee bars, which will, by the way, likely have excellent wifi. Chiang Mai also offers a wide variety of fabulous yet affordable food options.
Just outside of Chiang Mai, there are many opportunities to explore the beautiful nature in the rice paddy fields or lush tropical landscapes. Go for a hike, visit a waterfall or cycle up the Doi Suthep mountain; so much to do!
Here are some highly recommend attractions when you visit Chiang Mai:
Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep
If Chiang Mai would have a middle name, it would be ‘temple city’. There are over three hundred Buddhist temples in Chiang Mai, some dating back to the thirteenth century. To give you an impression, this relatively small historical walled city is home to thirty temples!
The signature temple of Chiang Mai, however, is Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep. This historical temple is located high up on the Doi Suthep mountain, is said to have been founded in 1383 and offers a beautiful view over the city.
Many people hire a songthaew (a red taxi truck) to the top, but if you are more adventurous you can rent a motorbike and drive the curvy road up the mountain yourself!
Entrance fee: 30 THB for foreigners
Elephant Nature Park
The Elephant Nature Park is an elephant rescue and rehabilitation center, located sixty kilometers from Chiang Mai. ENP offers an alternative to the elephant tourist shows and elephant riding packages, instead educating tourists about elephants and their natural way of living. Set in a natural valley, bordered by a river and surrounded by forested mountains, visitors have the opportunity to see the rescued elephants roam in their natural environment.
Volunteer opportunities area also available
You get the opportunity to get close to and bond with the elephants at feeding time. Big buckets full of fruits are brought to the platform and before you know it, the elephants arrive, swinging their trunks in front of the visitors in search of their favorite watermelons and pumpkins. Did you know that elephants eat an astonishing 10% of their own body weight every single day? Wow! To top that of, later on in the day you’ll also get to bathe some of the elephants in the river.
This is truly a life changing experience and you will never want to ride an elephant again after you’ve visited this special sanctuary!
Entrance fee: 2,500 THB (including hotel pick up around 8 am and return to Chiang Mai around 5 pm)
A number of waterfalls surround the city of Chiang Mai. The ‘Sticky Waterfalls’, officially known as Buatong or Bua Thong waterfalls, is one of the most popular to visit.
The waterfalls are called ‘sticky’, because you can actually climb up the waterfall without slipping. This is possible because of a unique calcification that’s built up over years providing natural steps to climb. If you have always dreamt of being Spiderman, this is your chance! There is no deep pool to swim in, but you will definitely get wet climbing these waterfalls, so make sure you bring some dry clothes.
Located sixty kilometers outside of the city, it will take approximately an hour to drive to the Sticky Waterfalls on a motorbike. Alternatively, you can rent a songthaew to take you there. If you do take a songthaew, make sure it will be a return trip! This is a pretty remote location and there are no songthaews waiting to bring tourists back to the city.
Entrance fee: FREE
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